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Autocad, Microstation, and Revit

  • 1.  Autocad, Microstation, and Revit

    Posted 03-04-2017 06:25 PM

    I have recently been applying to jobs in the Utah/West Coast area, and many of them require having experience in Autocad, Revit, Microstation, or some other visual engineering programs. Having transferred from Mechanical Engineering to Civil Engineering, my experience was mostly in visual programs such as NX 5.0, Solidworks, etc. I even self-taught myself to use Google Sketchup, and used a model I made to display the structural components of a tower as part of my CE capstone project. My question is, how can I overcome this barrier of not having the technical experience in Autocad, Microstation, or Revit, or other programs that is required for many entry-level positions? Should I just apply anyway hoping the firm will provided my needed experience? Or should I break the bank and go back to school to take a course specifically in Autocad? I have a B.S. in Civil Engineering, and chose to pursue an MPA afterwards to round my communication skills as an engineer.

    ------------------------------
    Kevin Sonico EIT, A.M.ASCE
    Saratoga Springs UT
    (831)595-3236
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: Autocad, Microstation, and Revit

    Posted 03-06-2017 09:35 AM
    Kevin,
    What type of job are you applying for? AutoCAD and other Autodesk products like LDD or Civil 3D are the most universal. Microstation is not anywhere near as popular, but is often required by government agencies such as state transportation departments. I have less knowledge of Revit, but it seems to be more suited to structural and architectural engineering. They are all similar in many ways and you can probably fumble along through basic tasks in any of them using the drop down menus if you have any CAD experience at all. But if you are going to spend time and money learning one of these you should look at where you hope to go with it and which one will be most useful. 

    When I got out of college and started working, I found my limited knowledge of CAD (1 course) was holding me back, so I took some courses at the community college while I worked. The drain on time was worse than the drain on funds this way, but two nights a week wasn't unbearable.

    There are also groups like AUGI that will help advance your knowledge. And now most CAD software has extensive free support and training online from the software provider. Autodesk and possibly others have training videos on YouTube. These options may not provide a certificate, but will provide knowledge. I believe most software providers will keep track of your training if you open a free account and this will provide some record for you. I still use these tools when I have to do something that I'm rusty on or haven't done before. 

    Hope this helps,

    Ron

    ------------------------------
    Ron Zagrocki P.E., M.ASCE
    Engineer
    Aliquippa PA
    (717)580-5736
    ------------------------------



  • 3.  RE: Autocad, Microstation, and Revit

    Posted 03-07-2017 09:37 AM
    I agree with Ron.  Almost all government entities still use 2-D microstation, which is becoming very obsolete in the consulting private sector.  If you plan to work on any sort of buildings, or the aspects involved on a building project with multiple disciplines involved, then you will most have more success with Revit, since it is a 3-D platform that allows all disciplines to work together in one central model.  If you still have, or can get, a student version of any of the programs though, it can only help.  As Ron stated, there are many online tutorials available.  Autodesk has a whole library of lessons, and you can find just as many on YouTube.  I would not think it is necessary for you to go back to school.  Most companies would expect to invest some time in training a new higher right out of college, but the more you know, the less money it will cost them to do so.  If you spent some time on your own learning one of those drafting programs, you could add that to your resume.  You can always ask the company which one they are using and try to focus on the one that the job most requires.  Good luck.

    ------------------------------
    John Brew P.E., M.ASCE
    Professional Engineer
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: Autocad, Microstation, and Revit

    Posted 03-07-2017 12:52 PM

    Kevin,

    I should have read the entire e-mail before responding.  Having just been inducted as a life member, I can tell you, you will make may friends in ASCE that have different experiences.  Use those contacts for help.  They will, in turn, use you for help.

     

    Also, At our office, we have a CADD drafter, that is all she does.  She has wonderful design skills for grading, water and structures, but her main focus is the use of ACADD.  She is a wealth of knowledge when I get in trouble.

     

    I am a pretty good designer, but I can't draw a straight line with a straight edge on each side of a pencil.

     

    Dan Chase

    Stantec
    1327 Del Norte Road Camarillo CA 93010-9123
    Office Phone: (805) 981-0706 Ext 103

    Direct Phone: 805 322-1665

    Cell: 805 233 0900
    Fax: (805) 981-0251
    Dan.Chase@...

     

    Stantec

     

     

    The content of this email is the confidential property of Stantec and should not be copied, modified, retransmitted, or used for any purpose except with Stantec's written authorization. If you are not the intended recipient, please delete all copies and notify us immediately.

     

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  • 5.  RE: Autocad, Microstation, and Revit

    Posted 03-06-2017 09:37 AM
    I, too, decided on the BSCE/MPa route.  No need to "break the bank"- with your strong computer modeling software background, simply find an AutoCAD and/or MircoStation rep in your area, take a week off and attend a class.  Even if you have to take a Micro-GeoPak type of course, it will help.  No need to go after a month or two  of training for entry or near entry level positions.  That should be enough to get your foot in the door, and remember that even those who intern for CE firms do not get all that much training, let alone applied cad time, unless they work for 2 or more summers...

    Good luck!

    ------------------------------
    Reed Schwartzkopf P.E., M.ASCE
    Project Manager
    Bolton and Menk, Inc.
    Ames IA

    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: Autocad, Microstation, and Revit

    Posted 03-06-2017 09:37 AM
    I'm assuming you are coming out of school.  Usually the real world experience with these programs is going to be minimal at best coming from school.  And trying to find schooling that will cater to the civil field may be tough to find in a college scenario.  Autocad does provide for a 30 free trial (I'm assuming Microstation does as well).  Download and use the many on-line learning tools (youtube is a good place to start) to at least get familiar with the programs.  Each firm will use there preferred program in different ways with their preferred standards.  Expect to learn these programs on the job more then via schooling.  

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    Andrew Coursen P.E., P.L.S., M.ASCE
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  • 7.  RE: Autocad, Microstation, and Revit

    Posted 03-06-2017 09:37 AM
    I would suggest you learn if you are a young engineer and in the beginning of your career.  But if you are towards the end of a career, then perhaps your valuable experiences can offset this issue in other areas.  Good Luck.

    ------------------------------
    David Gardner P.E., M.ASCE
    Retired City Engineer
    DMG Engineering
    Natchez MS
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  • 8.  RE: Autocad, Microstation, and Revit

    Posted 03-06-2017 12:04 PM

    Software designers sell courses ion their products. But they come with a price.  You might consider signing up for them, but also keep applying for work.  Your experience with Solidworks or NX 5 has to count for something, even without the ACADD experience.  I started working before Autocadd and am still not very experienced, I'm still employed because I have experience as an engineer, not a CADD operator.

     

    I am a firm believer that learning computer software is much easier than learning to think like and engineer.

     

    Dan Chase

    Stantec
    1327 Del Norte Road Camarillo CA 93010-9123
    Office Phone: (805) 981-0706 Ext 103

    Direct Phone: 805 322-1665

    Cell: 805 233 0900
    Fax: (805) 981-0251
    Dan.Chase@...

     

    Stantec

     

     

    The content of this email is the confidential property of Stantec and should not be copied, modified, retransmitted, or used for any purpose except with Stantec's written authorization. If you are not the intended recipient, please delete all copies and notify us immediately.

     

    ü Please consider the environment before printing this email.

     






  • 9.  RE: Autocad, Microstation, and Revit

    Posted 03-07-2017 09:40 AM
    LYNDA.com

    If you are technically competent and reasonably computer literature, you can learn almost any software package at an entry-level by playing with it and using free tutorials/videos.  Experience only comes with real problems so if these are entry-level jobs you are applying to, they are expecting you know how to use the software, not necessarily WHEN to use it.

    Lynda.com has tons of software package tutorials. Some are short 'how to do this in this package' kind of videos while others are multi-hour courses. There is a 10 day free trial and then a small monthly cost. 

    [P.S. I am not a lynda representative, and I don't own stock in this company.  I heard about the site from my students!]

    ------------------------------
    Jeanne VanBriesen Ph.D., P.E., F.EWRI, M.ASCE
    Professor
    Carnegie Mellon University
    ------------------------------



  • 10.  RE: Autocad, Microstation, and Revit

    Posted 03-07-2017 10:53 AM
    There is a lot out there and much is free:
    Autodesk Training:Free Online Classes and Tutorials | Autodesk University
    Autodesk remove preview
    Free Online Classes and Tutorials | Autodesk University
    Watch free online classes and tutorials from Autodesk University. Learn about Autodesk products and services, get expert tips, explore industry trends, and more.
    View this on Autodesk >


    AutoCAD Training results on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=autocad

    Autodesk's own YouTube channel: Autodesk

    YouTube remove preview
    Autodesk
    Autodesk is a world leader in 3D design, engineering, and entertainment software. Since introducing AutoCAD in 1982, Autodesk has developed a broad portfolio of products to help users design, visualize, and simulate their ideas.
    View this on YouTube >


    YouTube search for Microstation tutorials: microstation tutorials - YouTube

    Youtube remove preview
    microstation tutorials - YouTube
    Enjoy the videos and music you love, upload original content, and share it all with friends, family, and the world on YouTube.
    View this on Youtube >


    Some universities including ivy league schools like Yale and MIT put entire courses on YouTube for free. You don't get any kind of certificate, but there is a lot of good knowledge out there for free.





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    Ron Zagrocki P.E., M.ASCE
    Engineer
    Aliquippa PA
    (717)580-5736
    ------------------------------



  • 11.  RE: Autocad, Microstation, and Revit

    Posted 03-07-2017 09:35 AM
    Negative on going back to school.  I started using AutoCAD in the mid 1980's switch to Microstation in early 1990's and switch back to AutoCAD one year ago.  It had completely changed so it was like starting over again.  The best website I found is Lynda.com for AutoCAD training you want or need.  You can pay by the month and should only take you a month or less depending how much time you can put in (about 80 hours for a newbee).  You can also purchase AutoCAD LT on line for about $350.  This will give you the necessary tools you will need.  It is never to late I am 72.  Good Luck 

    ------------------------------
    Lawrence Mislinski M.ASCE
    Dir Of Cvl Engrg
    Lawrence Consulting Engineers
    Harrison Township MI
    (586)246-9810
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  • 12.  RE: Autocad, Microstation, and Revit

    Posted 03-08-2017 10:18 PM
    Thank you so much for your feedback. I agree Dan that most of my education went towards "thinking like an engineer" since most companies probably expect new hires to adapt to the work specific to that company. I am looking to work in water resources since most of my education is in hydraulic design of channels and waterways. I will definitely check out these resources, thank you for quieting my fears about these technical skills.

    ------------------------------
    Kevin Sonico EIT, A.M.ASCE
    Saratoga Springs UT
    (831)595-3236
    ------------------------------



  • 13.  RE: Autocad, Microstation, and Revit

    Posted 04-27-2017 09:31 AM
    I work as a training consultant for many engineering firms.  The number one need they all express is "I cannot find good CAD techs".  The EI's I work with at these firms have similar stories about having only 1 semester of CAD instruction in college which did not meet the needs of the firms they work for.  I provide project specific training on AutoCAD and Civil 3D using the firms data from a recent project.  We focus on the deliverables; plan and profiles, grading, drainage... the list goes on.

    I encourage people to find all the free training they can get online.  If you are not sure what to look for or just don't have the time or energy to go the self-taught route that's where I usually get asked to get to the point quickly and concisely to develop the firm's employees competence for the immediate needs of an active project. Delivery of training is a combination of face to face and online sessions depending on the learner's preferences.

    Your current skills and the initiative you have taken to improve your skills means you will have plenty of employment opportunities to choose from.

    ------------------------------
    Brian Morse A.M.ASCE
    Owner
    Bradenton FL
    www.BrianMorse.com
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  • 14.  RE: Autocad, Microstation, and Revit

    Posted 04-28-2017 09:37 AM
    It is not uncommon for most engineering programs to offer only 1 semester of CAD. 4-years engineering programs are already cramped with many courses and scheduling more time to learn a software may prevent the teaching of more engineering concepts. In my opinion, learning engineering fundamental concepts should precede learning a software. Otherwise, students would become excellent operators of a computer without proper understanding the reason why they are using that software.


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    Carlos Zuluaga C.Eng, S.M.ASCE
    Ph.D. Student, Civil Engineering
    Cary NC
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  • 15.  RE: Autocad, Microstation, and Revit

    Posted 04-30-2017 06:34 PM
    One never knows which drafting software package will be used where one becomes employed after graduation; and you may switch drafting software several times along your career path.  I wish more engineering schools would focus on teaching Graphic Standards rather than getting too in depth with whatever software package the school is using.  Also, teach the students how to letter so that anyone can read their hand writing, and how to do a rough freehand sketch.  Over the course of my career I have used at least four different drafting software packages including autocad & microstation (five, if you count old-school pen & ink on mylar utilizing a parallel bar on a drafting table).

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    Jesse Burke P.E., M.ASCE
    President
    Burke Engineering, LLC
    Columbia SC
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  • 16.  RE: Autocad, Microstation, and Revit

    Posted 04-30-2017 06:35 PM
    Why are we having Engineering Interns doing technician work? We should be training them to be engineers rather than technicians.





  • 17.  RE: Autocad, Microstation, and Revit

    Posted 05-01-2017 09:39 AM
    Carlos, Jesse, Daniel,
    Thank you for your responses. You each make good points which reflect the views of many engineers I work with and I do not disagree with you or them. My original post as this one is as well are simply my observations from working with many businesses and government engineering departments. The schools are producing great engineers. Not all businesses are using AutoCAD, its mostly a client driven requirement that decides which software they will use. The last recession and software improvements have changed the job descriptions of the current workforce.  Businesses bill for the work they deliver which is almost entirely produced with the assistance of computer software.  Software today is a design tool made by and for engineers.  The current capabilities of the software enable output that appears to be drafted but is actually a display tied to a computer model of the design. Some business who have streamlined their workforce have few to no non-engineering educated CAD Techs. These businesses are producing as much or more work than other businesses twice their size.  The one leading factor common to all of them is they are better at exploiting the capabilities of their design software.

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    Brian Morse A.M.ASCE
    Owner
    Bradenton FL
    www.BrianMorse.com
    ------------------------------



  • 18.  RE: Autocad, Microstation, and Revit

    Posted 05-01-2017 02:52 PM
    I agree

    Carl Smith: PE, Life ASCE member

    ____________________________________________________________
    Why Your City Doctors No Longer Prescribe Metformin
    Vibrant Health Network
    http://thirdpartyoffers.juno.com/TGL3141/59077a04252ca7a044c6fst01vuc




  • 19.  RE: Autocad, Microstation, and Revit

    Posted 05-02-2017 09:39 AM
    We have young engineers do drafting, Cadd and other "non-project management" things because young engineers need to understand the whole project in order to be able to explain to what you want designed, drawn and calculated.  I have found that if they do not have 2 projects worth of CADD, they cannot speak to the operators intelligently enough to be able to explain that the line type is too thick, or how to create a surface, or which surfaces they need to look at when calculating the net balance.  They also do not understand what the implications are of the decision to move the centerline 3 feet east without changing the section.

    Personally, I believe that young engineers should spend 2-3 months as an administrative person so that they understand how a contract is put together, where the files are, and how to get something out of them.

    Project management will come better when the technical aspects of the system are understood.  After all, how do you budget time for the CADD production of a project if your CADD guy says I don't know, and you have no clue either.

    Its the same reason we start engineering with calculus, rather than Laplace transforms.  It makes it seem less like magic.

    As to which software, it doesn't much matter, cause 2 years from now, they should not be directly using any of it.  If you are looking for a specific job, with specific requirements, demonstrate proficiency by doing a project of some type.

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    Dwayne Culp Ph.D., P.E., P.Eng, M.ASCE
    Culp Engineering, LLC
    Richmond TX
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